JEJU ― LG Electronics is ready to expand its lineup for Google TVs this year, as the company expects sales to rise on growing demand, a high-ranking LG executive confirmed on Friday.
These innovative smart TVs operating on Google’s Android operating system are consequently expected to become available in more countries other than the U.S., China and Korea.
The language band for the Google TVs is also likely to be expanded to more than the current 10 or so based on LG forecasts for higher demand.
In the U.S., the world’s No. 2 television maker said it has sold about double its forecast since it launched them in June last year ― approximately 10,000 Google TVs a month.
This year, LG began to roll out a more diverse lineup of Google TVs, with 42-inch, 50-inch and 60-inch models added to the existing 47-inch and 55-inch sets.
In Korea, Google TVs are expected to become available in July. They are to run on the Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean operating system, LG officials said.
The anticipated expansion reflects the strong partnership enjoyed between LG and Google.
The move will likely put Samsung, the world’s top TV maker, on alert, as LG’s largest rival has been under scrutiny from market watchers who suspect an unraveling of the relationship between Samsung and Google amid the former’s ambitions for an independent smart device operating system.
Samsung Electronics’ president Lee Jay-yong sought to quell such suspicions when he met with Google co-founder Larry Page in April this year during Page’s visit to Korea.
The expansion of Google TVs is also an indication that content holds the key to the future TV market, experts and executives said at the Digital Cable TV Show that kicked off on Jejudo Island on Thursday for a three-day run.
The market is fast churning out smarter and sharper TVs, but content still lags.
But all this may change as cable operators and manufacturers such as Samsung and LG are seeking closer cooperation.
In a keynote speech, LG Electronics’ head of Home Entertainment Kwon Hee-won said that cable operators can help offer an entirely new viewing experience, especially now with the introduction of ultra high definition TVs.
“When easy-to-use smart TVs are organically combined with Ultra High Definition content, users can expect a revolutionary new viewing experience,” Kwon said.
Both Samsung and LG have unveiled UHD TVs that are up to four to 16 times sharper than full HD sets.
Samsung has unveiled the 85-inch UHD, while LG showcased 84-inch models. The lineups are being expanded to smaller UHD screens to bring the price down to more affordable levels.
“The UHD TV era will come all too soon,” Kwon said, adding that cable operators are in a favorable position to provide content for these new TVs.
LG suggested a UHD Smart TV with built-in cable, which will allow consumers to watch cable TV on LG’s UHD displays using applications.
On Friday, Samsung and LG signed a memorandum of understanding with the nation’s five cable operators ― T-broad, CJ HelloVision, C&M, Hyundai HCN and CMB ― to join efforts for boosting the UHD TV market and create a proper smart TV ecosystem.
By Kim Ji-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org